In conversation with Marwan Bishara: The promise and peril of the Arab revolution

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“Never has the power of the people appeared so humane, so inspiring, so personal, so determined as in Tunisia, so daring as in Syria, so diverse as in Yemen, so humble as in Bahrain, so courageous as in Libya, or so humorous as in Egypt. If, as one keen observer noted, every joke is a tiny revolution, the Arabs, and most notably the Egyptians, are revolutionaries par excellence.

Marwan Bishara, The Invisible Arab: The promise and peril of the Arab revolution.

The uprisings across the Arab world have often been portrayed by the media as spontaneous acts that were sparked by the death of Tunisian street seller Mohamed Bouazizi after he set fire to himself in late 2010.

In his new book Marwan Bishara of Al Jazeera English challenges this perception, exploring the history and deep-rooted feelings behind the apparently spontaneous takeover of Tunisia’s November 7 Square, Egypt’s Tahrir Square, and Bahrain’s Pearl Square.

These events and others in the region, Bishara explains, were the culmination of a long social and political struggle: countless sit-ins, strikes, pickets and demonstrations by people who risked and suffered intimidation, torture and imprisonment.

Marwan Bishara will be joining senior BBC presenter and special correspondent Lyse Doucet to discuss the roots of the uprisings, how they have evolved from country to country, the shifts they have created in the region and asking what lies ahead as people continue to battle for freedom and justice?

Marwan Bishara is Al Jazeera English’s senior political analyst and editor and host of its flagship show Empirewas previously a lecturer in International Relations at the American University of Paris, and a fellow at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, Le Monde, and The Nation amongst other titles.

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